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Condonation of Delay in Filing an Appeal under Section 37 of the 1996 Act.

The Supreme Court in the case of Government of Maharashtra v. Borse Brothers Engineers and Contractors Pvt. Ltd.[1] stated that appeals that are filed under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and are governed by the Limitation Act, which states that an appeal under the said Section cannot be filed after a delay of 30 days, 60 days or 90 days, respectively was finally overruled. The Court stated that it could be condoned by way of exception and not by way of rule. The Court said, “in a fit case in which a party has otherwise acted bona fide and not in a negligent manner, a short delay beyond such period can, in the discretion of the court, be condoned, always bearing in mind that the other side of the picture is that the opposite party may have acquired both in equity and justice, what may now be lost by the first party’s inaction, negligence or laches.”

The Apex Court in the case mentioned above overruled the N.V. International vState of Assam[2] judgment in which it was stated that any delay after 120 days would not be condoned under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act or even if allowed under Section 34 of the said Act will not be permitted. The period of 120 days of delay included the grace period of 30 days as well. The Court stated that even if there is a sufficient reason for the delay, it cannot be condoned. The Court said, “Given the object sought to be achieved under both the Arbitration Act and the Commercial Courts Act, that is, the speedy resolution of disputes, the expression “sufficient cause” is not elastic enough to cover long delays beyond the period provided by the appeal provision itself. Besides, the expression “sufficient cause” is not itself a loose panacea for the ill of pressing negligent and stale claims.”

There are few reasons because of which the N.V. International case got overruled, which are as follows:

  • The Commercial Court provision was wholly ignored in the N.V. International case.
  • The filing period in Commercial Courts, which was previously 90 days plus 30 days, is not applicable now, and the limitation period is 60 days and not 90 days now.
  • The argument that absents a provision curtailing the condonation of delay beyond the period provided in section 13 of the Commercial Courts Act would also make it clear that any such bodily lifting of the last part of section 34(3) into section 37 of the Arbitration Act would also be unwarranted.



[1] 2021 SCC OnLine SC 233.

[2] (2020) 2 SCC 109.


This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being. Further, despite all efforts made to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the information published, White Code VIA Mediation and Arbitration Centre shall not be responsible for any errors caused due to human error or otherwise. 

  • Condonation of delay under Section 37 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
  • Overrule of the N.V. International case
  • Condonation should be allowed

BY : Vanshika Gupta

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